November 2021 NRC Bulletin
December 1, 2021
NRC Updates and Announcements
NRC Members and Industry Friends,

The NRC 2022 Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibit is fast approaching, with the show just over a month away. The NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibit is the premier networking event in the industry, with many key industry personnel attending the show annually.

Register for the conference today for the opportunity to participate in the following seminars in addition to the full conference line-up:

UP Speed Networking - January 6, 2022 2:00pm - 5:00pm
  • The goal of this event is to connect UP's Engineering team with General contractors who do earthwork, track construction, track maintenance, bridge construction, bridge maintenance and more. Please note that an hour timeslot has been reserved for DBE contractors and attendees. Please note that this event is first-come, first-served. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please click here to register.

FRA Updates on Part 243, C3RS, RWP, and SOFA - January 6, 2022 2:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Rob Castiglione, Staff Director Human Performance Division, FRA; Brian Reilly, Specialist, Railroad Safety Partnerships; and Cory Johnson, Specialist, Railroad Safety Partnerships and Dave Kannenberg, Regional Administrator, will conduct a Q&A session regarding the training rule and discuss in greater detail, what the NPRM proposes to accomplish. Three additional topics relating to FRA’s signature programs will also be presented in greater detail.

FRA updates on: FRA Overview and Part 219 - January 6, 2022 2:00pm - 3:00pm
  • Mike Long, Director of Railroad Operations and Outreach, FRA and Gerald Powers, Drug and Alcohol Program Staff Director, FRA will provide an in-depth discussion on FRA Part 219 Drug and Alcohol testing, as well as an overview of FRA reorganization and policies.

Taking Safety from the Executive Office to the Frontline: What to Say and Do to Demonstrate Commitment - January 6, 2022 2:00pm - 3:00pm
  • Shae Birkey, Safety Leadership Adviser for Caterpillar Inc. will present on how ever member of the organization fulfills a specific function to get the job done, and yet all are expected to be "responsible for safety." This session focuses on tactical activities for safety, compliance, and all personnel that plays a part in safety for railroad contractors and suppliers.

Schedule-At-A-Glance
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
  • Registration: 8:00 am – 7:30 pm
  • Exhibitor Set-up: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • Reception in Exhibit Hall: 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Thursday, January 6, 2022
  • General Session: 7 am - 8:45 am; 10:15 am - 12:15 pm
  • Exhibits: 8:45 am - 10:15 am, 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm; 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Seminars: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Friday, January 7, 2022
  • General Session: 7:30 am - 11 am
  • Exhibits Tear Down: 7:30 am - 12:00 pm
  • Hiking Excursion (off-site) 12:00pm - 5:00pm
  • Golf (on-site): 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturday, January 8, 2022
  • General Session: 7:30 am - 12:15 pm
  • Finale Reception: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Exhibit Hall: Exhibit space for the 2022 NRC-REMSA Exhibition is still available but filling up fast. For questions regarding booths, see the links below or contact Urszula Soucie at (202) 844-6026 or by email at soucie@remsa.org.

Event Sponsorships: Sponsorships are filling up fast, and you do not want to miss the opportunity to reserve your organization's sponsorship. Sponsor benefits include:
  • Sponsor ribbon on conference badges
  • Sponsor recognition on the NRC website in lead-up to the Conference
  • Sponsor recognition in NRC Conference emails to attendees, and NRC monthly bulletin
  • Signage with your company logo throughout the venue 
  • Recognition at the event
  • Your company logo printed inside of the NRC Conference Program Guide.


Sponsor up to 2 golf holes per company at the NRC 2022 Conference Golf Tournament on January 7, 2022. Priced at $250 per hole. Golf hole sponsorships are a cost-effective way to sponsor at the NRC 2022 Conference and receive brand recognition at the premier railroad industry golf event.

Questions? Visit the NRC conference webpage or contact Mike McGonagle at mmcgonagle@nrcma.org or 202-975-0365.
SCAM ALERT: We ask that our members and conference attendees be vigilant of scams including any solicitations via phone or email that offer hotel deals or conference registration lists on behalf of the NRC. These groups are not affiliated with the NRC. Please check the NRC website or contact staff directly for the most up-to-date conference information.
Thank you to our NRC 2022 Conference Sponsors!
NRC Elects Two New Board Members

On December 1, the The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) announced today that two new railway industry professionals have won election to its Board of Directors. Chase Armstrong, R.J. Corman vice president of commercial development, and Bob Hirte, Hamilton Construction’s director of railroad development, will begin service as board members starting January 1, 2022.
“The NRC is fortunate to have a diverse board that represents a broad cross-section of the railway construction and supply community,” notes NRC President Ashley Wieland. “Although many of our member companies compete against each other, board members come together to benefit the entire NRC membership. Their service is invaluable in our mission to make railway construction safer and stronger.” To view the full announcement, please click here.
President Biden Signs IIJA into Law Following House Passage, NRC Issues Statement of Support,

On November 5th, late in the evening the House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021 by a vote of 228-206. This bipartisan bill, which passed the Senate in August of 2021 by a vote of 69-31 is the result of extensive stakeholder engagement and careful discussion. Following House passage of IIJA, the Act was sent to President Biden's desk and signed into law by executive order on November 14, during a ceremony at the White House. President Biden also announced at the November 14 ceremonial signing that Mitch Landrieu, former Mayor of New Orleans, LA and former Lt. Governor of Louisiana as the senior advisor responsible for coordinating the implementation of IIJA.

The NRC is pleased to see historic discretionary funding levels increase for vital rail grant programs, specifically FRA CRISI grants and USDOT INFRA and RAISE/BUILD/TIGER grants. The bill does contain some additional regulatory oversight and restrictive provisions, but overall, it is a balanced and reasonable bill. Notably, the bill did not include certain amendments that contained more burdensome provisions for rail contracting. The NRC’s legislative team and Policy and Legislative Committee (PLC) was actively engaged on the bill through the legislative process. The NRC joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led coalition in July of 2021 along with over 100 other business organizations supporting historic bipartisan infrastructure investment. See the NRC's full statement here.
House Passes Biden's Build Back Better, Heads to Senate

On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376, also known as the “BBB Act”), budget reconciliation bill that includes much of President Biden’s economic and social policy agenda, by a vote of 220 to 212. The vote came after a CBO (Congressional Budget Office) score of the bill was released, that the bill would include approximately $1.7 trillion in spending.

BBB now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated that the Senate will aim to consider the Act in December following the Thanksgiving recess, however the chamber still needs to pass its annual defense policy bill (commonly referred to as NDAA). As this historic Act moves forward the NRC encourages the Senate to proceed in a more bipartisan fashion than the House. Additionally, the NRC welcomes continued discussions surround robust infrastructure spending and implore both Chambers to work collaboratively to achieve an end product all stakeholders can support.
Mexican Authorities OK CP-KCS, STB Accepts Merger Application as 'Complete'

On November 26, Canadian Pacific (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) received the required Mexican regulatory pre-transaction control approvals for the proposed CP-KC merger. The proposed merger remains subject to customary closing conditions including approval from both companies' stockholders. Both CP and KCS are holding virtual meetings for stockholders in December, with an anticipated close date of December 14, pending shareholder approval.

This follows the November 24 announcement by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that it has accepted the Oct 29 proposed merge application filed on behalf of the CP-KCS merger. The STB determined that the applications is complete, and contains all information required by the board's regulations. Following public comment, the STB has adopted a procedural schedule that sets deadlines for comments, responsive applications, final briefs, and other filings. The first important deadline is December 13, when notices of intent to participate are due.

"We look forward to moving forward with a robust regulatory review of this historic combination that will add capacity to the U.S. rail network, create new competitive transportation options, support North American economic growth, and deliver other important benefits to customers, employees, and the environment," said CP President and CEO Keith Creel.
USDOT Secretary Buttigieg Announces RAISE Grants

On November 19, US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced nearly $1 billion in funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program. The funding has been awarded to 90 projects throughout 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. To view a list of the FY 2021 RAISE Grants, please click here.

“We’re proud to support these great projects that will improve infrastructure, strengthen supply chains, make us safer, advance equity, and combat climate change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He continued, "But going forward, with the passage of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will be able to support far more infrastructure projects to support jobs and everyday life in communities across the country." For more information, please click here.
STB Advances Rate Review Rulemakings for Small Rate Disputes

On November 15, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced that it has advanced two rulemakings to establish rate reasonableness processes for small rate disputes: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish a voluntary arbitration program for small rate disputes and a supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) for the Final Offer Rate Review (FORR) procedure.

Both the NPRM for voluntary arbitration and the FORR SNPRM continue the efforts of the Board's Rate Reform Task Force to determine how best to provide a rate review process for small cases. Comments to both rulemakings are due by January 14, 2022, and reply comments are due by March 15, 2022. Ex parte communications regarding matters related to both rulemakings are allowed between November 15, 2021 and February 23, 2022. For more information, please click here.
NRC Members: Submit Available Job Postings and Internship Opportunities!

Does your company have a job or internship opening? Let the NRC help you publicize your job or internship opening by reaching a far cross section of industry professionals through our website and monthly bulletin. If your organization has any current job postings or internship opportunities that are unfilled, please submit them to info@nrcma.org.
NRC Member Holland Shares Transit Contracting Success Story

NRC Member Company Holland recently completed a welding project on the Lechmere Viaduct in Boston through a partnership with NRC Member company RailWorks and the MBTA. The unique location of the viaduct meant that extensive time was put into the pre-planning process for the project. A site walk-through of the 110-year-old structure and intense collaboration with the general contractor and MBTA helped generate site-specific work instructions and safety procedures before working on the bridge that spans the Charles River. Due to tolerances for hi-rail equipment being much stricter on this section of track, the unit’s hi-rails had to be removed and sent to a machine shop where they were shimmed to meet the specifications. To access the worksite, Unit 702 traversed 5 miles through Boston both on the road and setting on and off hi-rail several times as the track was not completely built on the path to the work area.
Furthermore, the timing of the project meant that the teams had to work in unison with other contractors working in the same areas. The team worked long hours to achieve the number of welds needed to complete the project on time. This safe and successful completion of this work on the MBTA Green Line Extension is another addition to Holland, and several NRC member companies track record of working directly with Transit Agency partners to engineer unique solutions for unique circumstances.

Want to share your company's transit contracting success story? Submit your story to NRC staff at info@nrcma.org or by telephone at 202-975-0365. Please note that any story or anecdote shared with staff will remain anonymous and no proprietary information will be disseminated. If you or your organization is interested in sharing a story like the one above or a similar one, please make sure to include a reference to Transit Contracting Success Story in your email subject line or by telephone. If you have any questions, or would like to talk with NRC staff about this initiative further, please email info@nrcma.org.
Industry News and Updates
On November 30, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) granted Amtrak's request for CSX Choctaw Yard access, per an STB rule. CSX must permit Amtrak access to the Choctaw Yard to conduct an engineering survey related to the potential location of a layover track. The STB decision is related to the ongoing dispute between CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Amtrak over the passenger railroads' plan to offer service on CSX and NS lines between New Orleans, LA and Mobile, AL. The proposed plan is slated to begin in early 2022.

On November 29, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan led a groundbreaking ceremony featuring pubic and private-sector leaders for the $466 million Howard Street Tunnel expansion project. The project will reconstruct the 126-year-old freight rail tunnel to accommodate double-stacked container trains to and from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. The project consists of vertical clearance improvements at the Howard Street Tunnel and at 21 other locations between Baltimore and Philadelphia to allow double stacking. The Howard Street Tunnel, owned by CSX, will be reconstructed to provide an additional 18 in. of clearance. Three additional bridges in Baltimore also will require superstructure work: the North Avenue bridge will be modified and the Guilford Avenue and Harford Road bridges will be replaced. Other locations in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania will require only track lowering beneath the structures

On November 23, the Montreal Port Authority issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a design-build-finance-operate-maintain agreement of the Contrecoeur expansion project at the Port of Montreal. By issuing the RFQ, the Port Authority is seeking a strategic partnership that can meet project standards for innovation, efficiency, social responsibility, and sustainable development. By 2024, the port plans to develop the state-of-the-art container terminal to handle 1.15 million 20-foot equivalent units annually for consumers and importers in Quebec and eastern Canada. The facility will be built near major rail lines and highways.

On November 9, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it is proposing to suspend a rule allowing movement of liquefied natural gas by rail while it considers potential modifications to the rule. In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published Monday in the Federal Register, the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says it would suspend the rule effective in July 2020 until June 2024, or until the completion of possible modifications to the rule. The suspension will ensure no LNG is moved by rail until a rule regarding movement of the commodity reflects additional information from ongoing research. Comments on the proposed suspension will be accepted through Dec. 23.
The NRC is a trade association representing businesses from across the nation in the rail construction and maintenance field. NRC members range in size from small family businesses to the largest companies in the industry. NRC members perform work for transit, commuter, intercity passenger, industrial, and freight rail customers, with services including track construction and maintenance, grade crossings, signal and communications installation, bridge construction and repair, rail yard work, and many more. The NRC strives to put an emphasis on rail safety and quality while proudly serving the rail industry